Monthly Archives: June 2014

Dee Tales: Loving Home

89 - Loving Home

Dee Tales are whimsical stories inspired by photographs taken with my i-phone. A tiny story for you, a wee sense of accomplishment for me. Enjoy.

The Agency has a sign with a baby carriage but rarely do new parents use one of these. The baby trolls are too big, the fairies too small – the dragons will fit, but they often set them on fire.

Maybe they have it to try and fit in with the other storefronts. I don’t think the new parents and adopted creatures care much about fitting in.

Maybe they just think it’s cute.

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Your Brain

88 - Brain

This is not a post about improving your brain through diet, exercising, sleep, and reducing stress. (You’re welcome).

This is also not a post about zombies. (Sorry).

As writers we’re inside our heads a lot. And the fact that this lump of grey matter can create settings and characters and plots is kind of incredible. It is this appreciation which has led me to post the wicked-cool facts about our brains by
The Nursing Assistant Centre.

So yes, exercise, eat right, get a good night’s sleep, but also freak out about these facts because they are super awesome.

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On Spec

I think I first found On Spec in The Writer’s Market. I can’t quite remember. All I know is that I’ve been reading them for years. They publish sci-fi and fantasy and they’re Canadian! Jen Laface was kind enough to answer a few questions about this out of-this-world publication.

On Spec is celebrating it’s 25th year in business. What is the secret to your success?

Many things! One is perseverance. On Spec is primarily grant-funded, but due to shrinking contributions from all levels of government, we’re challenged with finding new ways for funding. By and large, we are a “critical” success, which means our authors and stories often win acclaim. But the reality of Canadian publishing is that our population isn’t necessarily large enough to sustain a special interest title like On Spec. Grants are necessary to give us a more level playing field with similar publications that have access to a larger readership. This, on the other hand, could change once we are more visible on the digital marketplace. On Spec’s secret weapon—ok, well Managing Editor—is Diane Walton. She’s been with On Spec since the start, and at the helm of On Spec for several years, since Jena Snyder left us to pursue her own writing career. Diane and the other editors have a passion and drive to see a Canadian science fiction and fantasy magazine thrive.

Commitment is an important part–the editors donate their time to On Spec without compensation. That’s a labour of love, from reading and selecting stories to administrative tasks, promotions and fundraising. The editors frequently attend out of town conventions and conferences at their own expense, and spend most of their time doing On Spec work—both selling and promoting. The team is committed to showcasing talent, established and emerging especially in Canada, and delivering the best stories to our subscribers.

Many literary magazines have gone from print to digital. Will On Spec be next? If not, why not?

Most likely yes. Due to the costs of printing and mailing, plus fulfilling membership obligations with print copies, it does get costly. We’ve observed magazines that have started only digitally, and one of the benefits is not incurring print and mailing costs.

At this point, we’re in the midst of solidifying our process for digital issues, so there won’t be any changes quite yet, probably not in the next half year. But we do recognize that making our magazine available in digital format will open us to a much wider international audience in the English-speaking world, and that can’t be a bad thing. For those readers who still enjoy the feel of a magazine, we can also investigate limited print runs or print on demand options.

Do you have a sense of your readership? Are On Spec fans readers or writers?

We’ve only done a little research on our subscribers. We think 75% is fans, 25% writers. For web searches, it’s usually in reverse—writers are searching for markets and from our experience, more likely to seek out On Spec.

Plus there’s people who are a little of both! 🙂

Can you talk a bit about the short story medium in general? What about it appeals to you?

Short fiction has a long and noble tradition in publishing, and is far more than merely a “gateway” for writers who are working on their novels. It is an art form in itself, and far more challenging in many ways. In literature of the fantastic, it is also a good place for writers to test new concepts and characters. And most readers can tell you of one or two particular short stories that continue to resonate with them, even years later.

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Writing Prompt – Birthdays and Random Objects

sign

June is upon us which, in my neighborhood, means garage sale season. Every weekend you’ll find flyers stapled to telephone poles or taped to stop signs indicating which street and what kind of fare to expect. I love garage sales. I really do. You never know what treasures you’ll find.

Mr. T

I really should have bought this. The problem is, I have trouble keeping plants alive. I’ve almost killed our bamboo a couple of times by letting the water run out. (It would be so much easier if they would just make their needs know… like if they glowed red when they were thirsty or something…)

This was NOT for sale but if it were, I’d be tempted.

ice cream thing

At my third garage sale of the day, I purchased The Art of Happiness. The gentleman whose garage sale it was told me that the year he turned 40 he bought 40 copies of the book to give away to his family, friends, even strangers. Needless to say not everyone was enthusiastic so he had a few left – but what a great way to mark a birthday.

Book - 40

As an exercise, write about a character who is having a milestone birthday. What book or other object does s/he buy to give away to people and why? Need another writing prompt? Go to a garage sale, vintage clothing store or antique shop. Pick a random object. Who did it use to belong to? Why was it important to them?

Enjoy!

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